Cadet Inspects Tennessee

This is a light visit weekend for the Vols, but there's one prospect scheduled to be on campus that brings some pretty heavy implications with him.

The player in question isn't as highly rated as most of the prospects the Vols have landed this recruiting season, In fact, Tennessee is the only SEC school known to have offered him to this point. UT and North Carolina are two of his other finalists along with South Florida and Florida International.

That's not exactly a lineup of heavy hitters. And given the number of commitments the Vols already have as well as the big names they're still in on, why the high interest level in Travaris Cadet, of Miami Central High School?

Cadet is a three-star prospect ranked the nation's No. 63 wide receiver by Scout.com, and at 6-foot-1, 197 pounds he has nice size. However his 40 time is listed at 4.63 while his vertical is a pedestrian 30 inches. Those aren't bad numbers, neither are they topflight for an SEC wide receiver.

Besides the Volunteers already have seven wideouts committed to the Class of 2007 and at least five others they are still pursuing with better credentials than Cadet, i.e. Ahmad Paige, Dwight Jones, Roderick Davis, Rashad Moore and Co-Eric Riley.

Moore, of Nashville Pearl-Cohn is rated the nation's No. 14 wideout and a four-star prospect. He's also 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, runs a reported 4.50 time in the 40 and has recorded a remarkable 40-inch vertical. Moore has been offered by LSU, Michigan, Mississippi and North Carolina. He attended UT"s football camp last summer and expressed his strong interest in the Vols. Still UT didn't get on him early and now it appears he'll play out of state.

"My coach sent Tennessee a tape a few weeks ago and they offered me a scholarship," Mason told Scout.com's Jamie Newberg on Wednesday. "They have really come on strong with me. I don't think I will make an official visit there because I have been to three games this season and I am pretty familiar with them. I am going to keep that last weekend open and then decide if I want to make that last visit."

Mason was featured in a Rocky Top News magazine story last summer as well as an InsideTennessee.com article, but it appears UT's staff may have dropped the ball on him. That's particularly puzzling in a year when the Vols may have made a couple of in-state reaches.

It also makes Tennessee's persistent pursuit of Travaris Cadet all the more curious. However it could be that the Vols don't see Cadet as as a receiver at all but rather a quarterback. That's what he played in high school the last two seasons. As a junior, he led Miami Central to a 7-2 mark, hitting 60 percent of his passes for 899 yards and four touchdowns while running 17 times for 109 yards and two TDs. Last season paced Central to an 11-2 record, passing for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushing for 400 yards and two touchdowns.

Although Cadet's athleticism is not top of the line for a receiver, it's more than adequate for a dual threat signal caller. Could it be the Vols are looking to add a running threat at quarterback to their offensive arsenal? That would explain UT's interest in Cadet as well as its season long chase of Beaumont, Texas QB Joe Chaisson, who fits the same run-pass mode. The Vols also recruited Eric Berry with the idea of playing some quarterback, although his immediate value at the corner would seem too much to ignore.

Cadet's comments to Don Callahan of Inside Carolina would seem to suggest that David Cutcliffe is open to making modifications to the offense somewhere down the road.

"I'm leaning towards Tennessee, but North Carolina, they're close," Cadet said last week. "First and foremost, I would love to play for a dominating offensive coordinator. Tennessee does have a dominating offensive coordinator. Also, they have a winning program and they have potential. Not only that, off the field I have sat down and spoke with Coach [Phil] Fulmer about the university. They're changing the offense and they feel I'm the guy that can get the job done."

What job that is remains the question.


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